WM. Z. FOSTER
'Organizing Methods in the Steel Industry''' is
written with the object of aiding the most active workers in
the steel industry and steel workers generally in organizing
the industry in the present campaign. There can be no doubt
that a mastery of the principles developed in this pamphlet,
principles based on practical experiences, would result in a
greater efficiency on the part of all those now engaged in
organising the industry. It is really a manual of organisation
methods in the organisation of the unorganised in the mass
The organisational principles and methods here developed
can be easily adapted to problems of organising other mass
production and large-scale industries such as auto, rubber,
chemical, textile, etc. There is a great poverty in the labor
movement of such literature. This poverty is felt also in
labor schools. This manual should prove very popular for
trade union courses in the various workers' labor schools.
Let us hope that this is a beginning of the development of
such literature to fill the need in the present growth of the
trade union movement.
in the Steel Industry
BY WILLIAM Z. FOSTER
National Chairman of the
Communist Party and Leader
of the 1919 Steel Strike
WORKERS LIBRARY PUBLISHERS
NEW YORK, I936
I. General 6
II. Organizational Forms and Functions 7
1. STRUCTURE OF ORGANIZING FORCES 7
2. STRUCTURE OF THE UNION , 8
3- FUNCTIONS AND TASKS 8
III. Mass Agitation 9
1. slogans 10
2. pubicity and printed matter io
3. RADIO II
4. MASS MEETINGS, DEMONSTRATIONS, ETC 12
IV. Mass Organization 13
1. INDIVIDUAL RECRUITMENT 13
2. OPEN RECRUITING '. 14
3. RECRUITMENT IN STRUGGLE 15
V. Special Group Work 17
1. AMERICAN WHITES 17
2. NEGROES 17
3. FOREIGN-BORN \J
4. YOUTH l8
5. WOMEN 18
VI. Company Unions 19
VII. Special Organizational Work 22
I. UNEMPLOYED W.P.A 22
2. FRATERNAL ORGANIZATIONS 22
3. CHURCHES 23
4. OTHER ORGANIZATIONS 23
PUBLISHED BY WORKERS LIBRARY PUBLISHERS, INC.
P. O. BOX 1+8, STA, D, NEW YORK, OCTOBER, 1936.
npHE METHODS outlined below of doing organization
■*■ work in the steel industry are based upon the general
principles of organization strategy and tactics developed in
my pamphlet entitled: Unionizing Steel. They embody the
lessons of the 191 9 strike and of other steel struggles, and
they are suggested to the Steel Workers Organizing Com-
mittee for its consideration. The general principles in my
pamphlet may be very briefly summarized as follows:
1. The organization work must be done by a working
combination of the progressive and Left-wing forces in the
labor movement. It is only these elements that have the
necessary vision, flexibility and courage to go forward with
such an important project as the organization of the 500,000
steel workers in the face of the powerful opposition of the
Steel Trust and its capitalist allies. As far as the Right-wing
reactionaries (crystallized in the Executive Council of the
American Federation of Labor) are concerned, they will not
and cannot organize the steel workers. In 1936, even as in
1 919, their attitude is one of sabotage and obstruction.
2. The organization campaign must be based upon the
principles of trade union democracy. That is, every effort
must be made to draw the widest possible ranks of the work-
ers into the activities of the leading, decisive committees, and
also into the work of the organizers and the union generally.
Only with such democracy, or systematic mass participation,
can the great task of building the union be successfully ac-
3. The organization movement must be industrial and na-
tional in character. That is, (a) it must include every cate-
gory of workers in the steel industry not merely a thin stra-
tum of skilled workers at the top; and (b) the drive must be
carried on energetically and simultaneously in every steel
center, not simply here and there spasmodically in individual
mills or steel centers.
4. The campaign must develop a strong discipline among
the organizers and workers in order to prevent the move-
ment from being wrecked by company-inspired local strikes
and other disruptive tendencies. The necessary discipline can-
not be attained by issuing drastic orders, but must be based
upon wide education work among the rank and file and the
development of confidence among them in the cause and
ultimate victory of the movement.
5. The organization campaign must be a fighting move-
ment. It must realize that if the steel workers are to be or-
ganized they can only rely upon themselves and the support
they get from other workers. While every advantage should
be taken of all political institutions and individuals to de-
fend the steel workers' civil rights and to advance their in-
terests generally, it would be the worst folly to rely upon
Roosevelt, Earle or other capitalist politicians to adopt
measures to organize the steel workers. There is every prob-
ability that only through a great strike can the steel workers
establish their union and secure their demands, and this
perspective must be constantly borne in mind.
6. Although the steel workers must not place their faith
in capitalist politicians, they should utilize every means to
develop working class political activity and organization in
the steel areas. Especially there should be organized local
Labor Parties in the steel towns and thus foundations laid
for an eventual Farmer-Labor Party.
7. The movement must be highly self-critical. That is,
there should be a constant re-examination of the organiza-
tion methods used. Only in such a way can the necessary
adjustments be made in tactics to fit the different situations.
And only thus can the workers and organizers avoid defeat
and pessimism and be given a feeling of confidence and sure
success. It is a fatal mistake to try to apply blue-print meth-
ods of organization to an industry that presents so many
and varied situations as steel. Flexibility in the work is a
first essential, and to achieve this requires drastic self-
The situation in the steel industry is now highly favorable
and if the organization work is prosecuted energetically,
with due regard for the mistakes and weaknesses of past
strikes and struggles, it will succeed. The present campaign
of the Committee for Industrial Organization, of which
John L. Lewis is the head, has many advantages over 1919.
The industry is increasing production, the political situation
is more favorable for maintaining the civil rights of the
workers to meet and organize, the workers are in a more
militant mood, the right of the workers to organize is more
generally recognized, the campaign is being carried on upon
the basis of one industrial union instead of 24 crafts, the
illusions about company unionism are less now than ever,
the campaign has the solid support of a dozen powerful
trade unions, there are ample funds for the organizing work,
the language problem is not as severe as in earlier years, the
radio now enables the message of unionism to evade the em-
ployers' censorship and to be carried directly into the steel
workers' home. And, lastly, there is now in the field a strong
Communist Party (which was not so in 1919) that is lending
all its support to the success of the campaign.
The steel workers have every reason to enter into the
present campaign with full confidence of victory. Now is
the time to break down the open-shop slavery that has cursed
the steel industry ever since the defeat of the heroic Home-
stead strikers in 1892. Now is the opportunity to build the
Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers
into a great union, powerful enough to bring a happier life to
the steel workers and their families.
i. The steel workers cannot be organized by agitation
alone; it requires thorough organization work to unionize
2. The work must be coordinated and planned— per or-
ganizer, per locality, per day, per week etc.
3. Not mechanical blue-print tactics, but flexibility. The
degree to which the proposals below can be applied depends
on local conditions; the workers' mood and strength of
organization, the attitude of the bosses and government to-
wards the campaign, etc.
4. The organization work must be carried out upon the
basis of an energetic drive, not spontaneously and spas-
modically, or merely a slow, gradual growth ; sags in activity
and loss of momentum are very dangerous in the drive by
weakening the confidence of the workers.
5. A strong discipline should prevail all through the cam-
paign, but each unit must develop a healthy initiative, based
on a vigorous trade union democracy.
6. A central aim must always be to draw the largest
possible masses into direct participation in all the vital activ-
ities of the union; membership recruitment, formulation of
demands, union elections, petitions, pledge votes, strike votes,
strike organization, etc. This gives them a feeling that the
union is actually their movement.
7. Self-criticism at all times is absolutely indispensable to
the working out of proper tactics.
8. High morale among the organizers and enthusiasm and
confidence among the workers are indispensable conditions
to the success of the work.
9. Organizers do not know how to organize by instinct,
but must be carefully taught.
10. Every organizer and unit in the campaign must be
activized at all times. The whole organizing force should
move forward as one machine to the accomplishment of its
goal of building the union.
11. Hard work and sobriety are basic essentials for suc-
cess. Chair-warmers and irresponsibles should be made to
feel unwelcome in the organizing crew.
12. Every step taken in the campaign must have as its
central purpose the direct recruitment of new members. The
main slogan now is : "Join the Union".
II. Organizational Forms and Functions
1. Structure of Organizing Forces.
The organizing forces of the steel campaign should be
formed on the following general basis:
(a) The full-time and part-time organizers in the local-
ities and districts should be formed into definite committees,
each with a secretary and with sub-committees for publicity,
Negro, youth, women and defense. They should hold regular
weekly meetings at definite times and places.
(b) A corps of volunteer organizers should be created,
carefully selected to avoid unreliable elements. Each paid
organizer should be commissioned as a captain of a crew of
volunteer organizers and made immediately responsible for
(c) Each local of the Amalgamated Association should
appoint an organizing committee of several members.
(d) In the company unions informal organizing com-
mittees should be set up to bring the company union mem-
bership systematically into the Amalgamated Association.
(e) Organizing committees should be set up in the vari-
ous steel mills and in their departments, functioning either
openly or privately, as conditions dictate. These should be-
come the basis for future local unions.
(f) The Central Labor Unions and other unions (espe-
cially the railroad organizations) should set up local com-
mittees to support the steel drive and to organize their own
trades. The steel drive should aim at ioo per cent organiza-
tion of all workers in the steel towns.
(g) Similar supporting committees should also be formed
among fraternal organizations, churches and elsewhere,
where active sympathizers can be found for the steel
(h) These local union, mill and other organizing com-
mittees should meet together weekly (so far as is practical)
jointly with the paid and volunteer organizers.
(i) One or more national conferences of all the local
unions and organizing forces should be held to coordinate
the whole campaign of organization.
(j) Periodic meetings of organizers should be held to
study concrete methods of mass agitation and organization.
2. Structure of the Union.
(a) Local unions should be formed on the principle of
one mill, one union. In large mills the local union should be
sub-divided into branches according to main departments,
but the local union branches should be kept linked together
by a broad representative committee.
(b) In the localities and districts the local steel unions in
the several mills should be joined together into Steel Coun-
cils based upon a broad rank-and-file representation.
(c) The obsolete constitution of the Amalgamated Asso-
ciation should be adapted in practice to permit of this form
of departmentalized industrial union.
3. Functions and Tasks.
(a) Organizers should not work haphazardly. They
should each be given very specific tasks and held responsi-
ble for their fulfillment, specified individuals being charged
with the work in certain mills, language groups, company
(b) The principles of socialist competition should be in-
troduced to stimulate the work of the organizers, to create
friendly organizing rivalry between worker and worker, de-
partment and department, mill and mill, town and town.
(c) The greatest care should be taken to guard against
spies and provocateurs entrenching themselves in the organ-
izing crew and official leadership of the union but the organ-
izers should avoid starting a "spy scare". Spies that are
uncovered should be exposed to the workers.
(d) Care should be taken to protect all lists of members.
Loss of such lists and other important documents to com-
pany sources is highly demoralizing to the workers, and
careless organizers should be disciplined,
(e) An absolutely strict control should be maintained over
the finances, as loose financial methods always constitute
a grave danger in large organizing campaigns.
(f) The headquarters of the organizing committee and
the union should be located conveniently to the mills, but not
directly under the eyes of the mill officials.
(g) Organized protection of organizers, officers, local
headquarters, etc., should be provided for in local situations
of acute struggle.
(h) All organizers should submit detailed weekly reports
on their activities.
(i) Organizers and other union officials handling funds
should be regularly bonded with a bonding company.
III. Mass Agitation
The main objectives of the educational work should be
to liquidate fear and pessimistic moods among the workers ;
to convince them of the necessity for trade unionism to
win their demands and the possibility for success in the
present campaign ; to rouse the enthusiasm, confidence and
fighting spirit of the workers; to win public sentiment be-
hind the campaign.
The mass of workers support the drive and join the union
in order to improve their conditions by securing the satis-
faction of their most urgent economic demands. This ele-
mentary fact should never be lost sight of. The whole
campaign of agitation must be based upon the populariza-
tion of the sloganized major demands of the workers,
together with their local demands. The whole steel industry
should be saturated with these slogans.
The economic demands of the union should be put forth
immediately, but finally formulated and adopted at a broad
national rank-and-file conference and then ratified by huge
local mass meetings, pledge votes, etc., everywhere in the
2. Publicity and Printed Matter.
The publicity material should be short and concrete, with
concise facts about conditions in the industry and arguments
for organization. Occasionally it should be printed in the
most important foreign languages, the foreign-born workers
liking to read their native languages even when they speak
and understand English.
(a) Handbills should be issued regularly by the local
organizing committees and upon occasion by the various
local steel unions.
(b) Bulletins should be issued regularly by the local or-
ganizing committees giving local news of the movement, and
especially stressing the progress of the campaign in other
(c) House-to-house distribution on a mass scale should
be organized for handbills, bulletins and other literature.
(d) A circulation as extensive as possible should be
secured for the weekly paper, Steel Labor.
(e) Shop papers should be issued wherever practicable
by A.A. local unions.
(f) Advertisements in the local papers are valuable and
should be used regularly for important announcements to the
(g) Every means should be exercised to secure systema-
tically favorable write-ups in the local press on the campaign.
(h) Stickers are effective, but care must be exercised that
they do not become a nuisance and antagonize public
opinion, by being stuck up indiscriminately.
(i) The wearing of union buttons in the plants is a very
important organizing force, but care must be taken that it
be not introduced until there is sufficient mass support and
that the proper time is seized upon for its introduction, in
order to prevent discharges of workers.
(j) Advertisements in movies in small towns are often
practical and effective.
(k) Posters and window-cards should also be utilized on
The radio is an extremely important means for organizing
workers in an industry such as steel where the company
maintains terrorism to prevent the workers from attending
open meetings. The radio takes the union message directly
into the workers' homes, thus avoiding the censorship of the
(a) Local broadcasts should be organized weekly or semi-
weekly in all important steel towns as one of the basic means
of mass agitation.
(b) Where radio time cannot be secured in the given steel
localities, often the objective can be gained by using the
radio in nearby towns.
(c) Radio listeners' clubs should be systematically organ-
ized on a wide scale, as many steel workers have no radios,
(d) Radio speeches should be carefully prepared and
should always give a direct stimulus to joining the union.
4. Mass Meetings, Demonstrations, etc.
The actual gathering together of workers in mass meet-
ings and demonstrations is fundamental to the carrying on
of a successful organization campaign. It gives the workers
a confidence bred of their own numbers, and it enables the
organizers to reach them personally with their educational
appeal and organization methods. But such meetings, to
achieve the best success, must be of the broadest mass char-
acter. This means that they have to be thoroughly prepared,
and all the batteries of publicity, organizers, etc., should be
coordinated and stimulated for their organization. The entire
agitation among the workers should aim directly to culminate
in the holding of such mass meetings. One good mass meet-
ing is better than two dozen indifferent ones.
(a) The general mass meetings should be called not only
under the' auspices of the local organizing committees but
also on a mill or department scale by the local steel unions
and in special cases also by the Central Labor Unions and
other sympathetic organizations.
(b) Meetings should be held especially in popular neigh-
borhood halls, where the workers' fraternal lodges meet,
where the workers dance, where their weddings take place,
and where they are generally accustomed to going.
(c) Every effort should be made to bring the maximum
number of women and children to the steel mass meetings.
(d) The question of mass meetings in company towns
and in localities where the right of assembly is curtailed
presents special problems. The danger of discharge of the
workers makes it necessary that if mass meetings are held
in such localities they must first have a broad basis of organ-
ization among the workers, and a wide preliminary publicity.
(e) At mass meetings it is important to get prominent
out-of-town speakers to address the workers.
(f ) Mill gate meetings should be held regularly at noon-
time and at change-shifts where local conditions permit.
(g) Very effective are small delegations of steel workers
from one town or district to another and large mass delega-
tions of workers from organized mills to unorganized mills.
(h) Parades in steel towns are very effective in stimulat-
ing the workers, provided the parades are well organized
and have real mass support. Auto demonstrations are easily
organized and are effective agitational means.
(i) Music is important in a mass organizing campaign.
Sound trucks should be freely employed in the mill gate
and street meetings. An extensive use should be made of
bands in mass meetings and street demonstrations. Platform
singing should also be employed and mass singing wherever
(j) Social affairs such as smokers, boxing matches, card
parties, dances, picnics, various sports, etc., should be organ-
ized to establish contacts with the workers, especially in
localities where more open mass work is difficult.
IV. Mass Organization
1. Individual Recruitment.
Individual recruiting is the base of all immediate organ-
izational work in the steel industry. It is fundamentally im-
portant in every steel center and may be the only form for
the time being in company union towns and elsewhere where
terroristic conditions prevail. An elementary aim in the cam-
paign should be to activize the greatest numbers of workers
to do this individual button-hole work. The campaign can
succeed only if thousands of workers can be organized to
help directly in the enrollment of members. This work can-
not be done by organizers alone. Their main task is to organ-
ize the most active workers among the masses in great
numbers to do the recruiting. The tendency common in or-
ganization campaigns to leave the signing of new members
solely to the organizers and to recruitment in open meetings
should be avoided.
(a) The chain system of organization is one of the best
means of individual recruitment. By this method workers
undertake personally to organize their friends or to furnish
their names so that they can be approached by other organ-
izers. There should be a close check-up kept on all this work.
_ (b) The list system can also be effective in difficult situa-
tions. By this method trusted workers, volunteer organizers,
women, etc., get lists upon which to collect the signatures'
and fees of workers in various organizations, etc.
(c) Individual recruitment in all its forms should be or-
ganized, as far as possible, according to department and mill.
(d) Thorough organizational arrangements should be
made for signing up new members at social affairs radio lis-
tening groups, small home meetings, in fraternal lodges, etc.
(e) Key men in shops, fraternal organizations, etc.,
should be given close attention and all efforts made to sign
them up, but this work should not be done at the expense of
broad organization work among the masses.
(f ) In closed company towns and elsewhere where terror-
istic conditions prevail, secret methods of organization work
are often imperative to prevent demoralizing discharge cases.
Irresponsible exposure of the workers to discharge must be
strictly avoided. In such cases, union organizers can often
work temporarily as insurance agents, peddlers, etc.
2. Open Recruiting.
(a) Open recruitment should be carried on at all mass
meetings, except where special conditions prevail that may
expose the workers to discharge. Well-organized crews of
clerks should be on hand to sign up the new members, issu-
ing receipts on the spot. Often large numbers of potential
members are lost through neglecting these elementary prepa-
rations for their enrollment.
(b) Local unions should hold mass meetings of the work-
ers in their respective mills and sign up new members. There
should also be special meetings held for the various numeri-
cally important crafts where necessary. Often workers will
join at such meetings when they will not sign up at large,
open mass meetings. It is very important from an organiza-
tional standpoint that the local unions and their branches be
set up as soon as practical and a regular dues system estab-
lished. This impresses the workers with the seriousness and
stability of the movement. Merely signing up a worker does
not organize him. He must be brought into a local union,
given a union card, got to paying dues, attending union meet-
3. Recruitment in Struggle.
(a) The presentation of local demands to the company
must be utilized to facilitate organization work. If the de-
mands are granted, the workers feel they have won the vic-
tory and can easily be brought into the unions by active
organization work; if on the other hand the demands are
rejected, the resultant anger among the workers can also be
utilized readily for organization building.
(b) Departmental and local strikes in this early stage in
the organization campaign may be very dangerous. They
should be avoided, especially in mills of the biggest steel
corporations and now when the union is still weak. Where
strikes occur, no time should be lost in formally enlisting
all the workers into the union and every effort should be put
forth to win the struggle.
(c) Discharge cases for union activity should be taken
care of immediately. Delay is very injurious to the workers'
morale. While a vigorous fight for the reinstatement of the
discharged workers goes on, these workers should be given
relief in some form. Care should be exercised in the develop-
ment of the organization work in the shops not to provoke
^ (d) Defense cases should also receive immediate atten-
tion, as it is demoralizing to the mass of workers to see their
militant elements go to jail and nothing done for them.
Especially vigorous campaigns must be made against all
attempts at deportation of foreign-born workers. All this
emphasizes the need to build the I.L.D. in the steel centers.
(e) In case of a stubborn suppression of the right of
assembly in steel towns, the union forces, in addition to using
every legal channel for the restoration of their rights, should
not hesitate at opening a free speech fight on the streets to
force the city authorities to grant the workers halls. Such
activity greatly awakens the workers and prepares them for
organization and it should be supported by a very active re-
cruitment drive. Sometimes it is necessary to buy either
buildings or lots in order to secure meeting places.
(f) The boycott can often be effectively used against
hostile businessmen and professionals in steel towns and
thereby to stimulate the organization campaign. In districts
where the A.A. is strong (and there are well-established
unions of miners, railroad men, etc.), the boycott can also be
successfully applied against anti-union newspapers, Cham-
bers of Commerce and city administrations.
(g) In the election campaign all candidates should be
called upon to state their position regarding the steel cam-
paign in their public meetings.
(h) The organization forces should take up concretely
the question of placing demands upon the city and state
authorities in connection with civic rights, etc.
V. Special Group Work
i. American Whites.
This group is highly strategical in the steel industry, com-
prising most of the skilled workers, and also occupying a
key position in the social life of the steel communities. Every
effort must be made to win them. Special efforts should be
made to fight against employer-cultivated craft union, com-
pany union, anti-foreigner, anti-Negro and anti-Red tenden-
cies among these workers. Active work should be carried
on in their many organizations such as the American Legion,
various fraternal orders, etc. Among the organizing crew
there should be many American-born skilled steel workers.
It is absolutely essential that the large number of Negroes
in the industry be organized. For this, special Negro organ-
izers are imperative. Special demands for Negroes must be
formulated and widely popularized. Prominent Negro speak-
ers, including those of the National Negro Congress, should
be brought into the steel districts to address the meetings.
When necessary, special meetings of Negro steel workers
should be called. The Negroes should become members of
the regular local A.A. unions with full rights. Close attention
should be paid to bringing them into responsible official posts
in the unions and in the organizing crew. There should also
be immediately developed an active campaign against the
prevalent jim-crow practices in the steel towns and steel
industry. Local organizations of Negroes should be enlisted
in support of the campaign.
The foreign-born workers still form a very large mass of
the steel workers and require special methods by the organ-
izers. There should be organizers speaking the principal
foreign languages of the mills. Literature must be issued in
these mam languages. Special methods should be put forth to
enroll the militants among the foreign-born workers and
systematic recruitment work in the many fraternal and other
organizations that exist among this group of workers.
In order to organize this highly important section of the
working masses in the steel industry it is necessary to use
certain special methods in addition to the system of the gen-
eral campaign. Youth demands should be formulated and
widely popularized. A corps of youth organizers should be
developed. Youth committees should be set up in the organ-
izing crew and in the local unions. Special meetings and mass
delegate conferences of the youth should be held and atten-
tion given to cultivating sports activities of various kinds
among the youth. Systematic organizational campaigns
should be directed to the youth members of the Y MC A
and such organizations. The connections of the American
Youth Congress should be utilized to organize the youth
throughout the steel industry.
The women relatives of the steel workers are a vital factor
in the steel industry. They should be organized into Ladies'
Auxiliaries of the A.A. The most militant among them
should be drawn into all the activities of the general organ-
izing force. Special meetings and mass delegate conferences
of women should be held with prominent speakers, special
literature dealing with women's problems, etc. There should
be a corps of women organizers in the field, and the women's
clubs and other organizations in the steel industry should be
stirred into constructive activity in the campaign.
The steel corporations will make every effort to destroy
the solidarity between the various groups of workers in the
steel industry and thus to defeat them all by attempting to
divide them upon political, racial, religious and national
lines. In order to combat this campaign the essential thing
is to keep the question of the economic demands and the
need for a solid trade union aggressively in the forefront.
Under no circumstances should the campaign leadership
allow itself to be dragged from this main line and into
abstract racial, religious, national and other questions.
VI. Company Unions
The company unions can with proper methods be devel-
oped into a strong force for building the A.A. In this respect
the work should be based upon the following general
(a) The organizing crew and A.A. must develop a strong
initiative in the industry by an intense advocacy of its
slogans and by very active organization work. In this manner
the union must be made the center of all movements of the
workers against the employers. To develop such an initiative
by the union forces is fundamental. Only in this way can the
union crystallize the discontent of the workers into union
organization and reap the full advantage and credit for such
concessions as may be given by the company either directly
to the workers or through the company unions. Otherwise
such concessions can have the effect of checking the cam-
paign, as the employers plan them to do.
(b) All activities within the company unions should be
undertaken with flexible tactics in the sense of utilizing the
company uniosis as an auxiliary force to the building of
the trade union with the aim of eventually incorporating the
company union membership into the A.A. In many cases the
structure of the company unions can be readily transformed
into trade union organizations. Many of the best company
union leaders can be developed into leaders of the new
(c) The general policy in the company unions should be
directed towards bringing the masses into conflict with the
bosses in order to awaken the workers' fighting spirit to
demonstrate to even the most backward workers the insuf-
ficiency of company unionism, and thus to give a stimulus
to the campaign to organize the A.A. and thus to lay the
basis for the maximum permanent advantages for the work-
ers. This should be the policy, rather than to make important
settlements through the company unions with the bosses and
thus to create illusions that the company unions are effective
and that the trade union is not necessary.
(d) In submitting major demands to the companies
therefore, the company union should put forward the main
union demands and stand by them firmly, thus ^identifying
themselves with the union organizing campaign and making
clear to all the need of the trade union to back up these
elementary demands. So far as possible all important con-
cessions from the company should be won directly by the
trade union or under its immediate leadership, in order to
avoid the strengthening of company union illusions,
(e) Minor shop demands should be freely submitted by
the company unions, efforts being made at the same time to
develop the local company union forces into shop grievance
committees of a trade union character working in close
cooperation with the A.A. Local strikes over these demands
should be avoided, especially in the early stages of the cam-
paign and in the major steel plants.
(f) The organizing crew and the A.A. should give active
support to all the major and minor demands submitted by
the company unions to the employers. Only in this manner
can the workers be made to understand that whatever con-
cessions they may secure through the company union are
due primarily to the activity and strength of the trade union
(g) In case of company union elections tickets should be
put up of workers supporting the A.A. and the organizing
(h) Efforts should be constantly made to have the com-
pany unions in practice break with their narrow constitutions
by holding mass local and district conferences, by issuing
independent papers and bulletins, by meeting off company
(i) In cases where such a step is possible and practical,
trade union speakers should be invited to company union
meetings and vice-versa. Joint trade union-company union
conferences should eventually become possible and necessary.
(j) In all this work in the company unions the basic con-
ditions for success are, first, for the organizing forces to
maintain in the company union an active campaign of edu-
cation, exposing the maneuvers of the companies and stress-
ing the need for trade unionism and, secondly, to prosecute
in the company unions an aggressive campaign of organiza-
tion by recruiting key men, setting up of organizing com-
mittees in shops, activizing of company union members,
drawing in of company union representatives into trade
union conferences, meetings, etc.
(k) In working out the company union policy the great
danger to avoid is that of the organizing forces of the trade
union losing the initiative in the industry and hence the
leadership of the masses to the company unions. The main
source of this danger would be, first, failure of. the union
to come forward militantly with the advocacy of its demands
and with active organization work, and, second, for the union
to take a stand-off attitude towards the company unions and
thus fail to give them the necessary leadership.
VII. Special Organization Work
I. Unemployed — W.P.A.
It is important that the strongest bond of solidarity be
developed between the employed and unemployed steel work-
ers. This is necessary in order to help the organization work
at the present stage of the campaign and also to establish a
complete unity in the eventuality of a strike.
(a) The organizing forces and the A.A. should give
active support to the demands of the unemployed and
W.P.A. workers, and should extend support in building the
Workers Alliance and other organizations of the unemployed
and relief workers.
(b) Representative unemployed workers should be en-
gaged as steel union organizers and brought into all the trade
union organizing committees. Volunteer organizers should
also be recruited from among the unemployed and relief
(c) Mass conferences, demonstrations, etc., of the unem-
ployed should be stimulated to popularize and organize the
(d) Representatives of the organizing crew should visit
all organizations and meetings of the unemployed in order
to make direct connections in behalf of the organizing
2. Fraternal Organisations.
These organizations play a vital role in the steel towns,
especially among the foreign-born workers. It is very impor-
tant to develop a strong educational and organizational cam-
paign among them. Among the measures necessary are the
(a) There should be national and local mass conferences
held in which these organizations should recruit members
for themselves as well as for the A.A.
(b) There should be committees set up in the local organ-
izations of these fraternal bodies in order systematically to
recruit their steel worker members into the A.A.
(c) There should be an exchange of speakers between
the meetings of the fraternal organizations and of the union.
They should also send fraternal delegates to each other's
conferences and gatherings.
(d) The fraternal organizations should assign organizers
to the steel campaign.
(e) The organization campaign should make free use of
the halls of the fraternal organizations and, in cases of sup-
pression of civil rights, these may be the only halls available.
(f) Educational material on the steel drive should be sys-
tematically furnished to the press of the fraternal organ-
In many instances strongly favorable sentiment to the
organization campaign will be found among the churches in
the steel towns. This should be carefully systematized and
(a) Organizers should be sent to the churches to speak
from the pulpits. If possible, Labor Sundays should be or-
ganized, with organizers speaking in many churches simul-
taneously throughout the whole community.
(b) Sympathetic priests and preachers should be invited
to speak at meetings in the organization campaign.
(c) Active work of recruitment should be developed in
the local religious organizations, articles should be prepared
for publication in the religious press, etc.
(d) In case of suppression of civil rights, meetings may
sometimes be held in church premises.
4. Other Organisations.
Steel organizing work along similar lines to the above can
and should be carried on effectively in local branches of
such organizations as the American Legion, the National
Union for Social Justice, the Townsend movement, farmers'
organizations, cooperatives, etc.
In the steel towns the organizing crew should pay special
attention to sending speakers into all organizations and meet-
ings of professional and business men, in order to break
down so far as possible the opposition of these elements to
the organization of the steel workers.
Reading Matter for Trade Unionists
By WILLIAM Z. FOSTER
In this invaluable booklet the leaker of the 1919 Steel Strike
brings forth the lessons of that great struggle to aid the present
campaign among the steel workers. At the same time he analyzes
the present situation and shows how today many more favorable
factors exist than were present in 1919 for the organization of this
Price 5 cents
By WILLIAM Z. FOSTER
In this pamphlet on the major issue now facing the American
labor movement, the author shows how craft unionism and the
policies of the craft union leaders have failed to cope with the
growing problems of the main bulk of the workers in American
industry. Explaining how industrial unions can cope with these
problems, Foster brings a heavy barrage of examples and proofs to
the side of this progressive movement.
Price 5 cents
Order from your bookshop or from
WORKERS LIBRARY PUBLISHERS
P. O. Box 148, Sta. D
New York City
BO W5 CO CO H
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